One of the great adventures this year was participating in the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival in Harlingen, Texas. For those in the know, this festival is one of the biggest in the country and features everyone involved in the birding industry from prestigious optics companies like Swarovski and Zeiss to Audubon to companies involved in bird conservation. There were also several companies like ours which take people abroad to see incredible birdlife in other countries. Peru, Uganda and Birding is the World Brazil were the main participants. Birding festivals like this are essential for every level of birder because you learn so much and there is something for everyone. If you are interested in photography, you’re covered. Seeing rare and endangered birds, check! They even had a birding expert who brought several live birds of prey to the show including a Caracara, a Great Horned Owl, a Peregrine Falcon and an African White Crowned Raven. If you are interested in learning about agencies that want to protect these birds, birdshots are a must. Plus there were tons of early morning excursions to local sanctuaries and state parks to see local birds like the Great Kiskadee and Green Jay.
I have to admit that the trip Denver all the way down to the deepest South of Texas to participate in this festival was my personal. We drove all the way to El Paso, Texas through the South of Colorado and slicing through New Mexico. We stayed at a place called Truth and Consequences which changed its name after winning a contest on the game show with the same name. We explored the River Walk and Alamo in San Antonio and we had a great lunch at the Big Texan restaurant in Amarillo. No, I did not enter the 72 ounce steak challenge. Plus we realized that the best Mexican food in the nation has to be in Texas. It’s surely much better than what we have in Colorado. We also explored birding sanctuaries like the Sabal Palm Sanctuary and the Hugh Ramsey Nature Park where we saw an endless parade of Green Jays, Great Kiskadees, Green Kingfishers, Cardinals, Black-Crested Titmice and many more.
The show itself was five days of intensity. We were promoting our Brazilian excursions but we also went down to meet people, make connections and learn from other birders. There are so many ways to enjoy the wonderful world of birds and a bird show is where it all comes together.
We look forward to the next one!